Well you're not going to believe THIS story but it's absolutely true!
I was in need of accommodation in NYC for about a month on another visit, so I put a post on my facebook page asking if anyone knew of a room to rent. A friend of mine, Graham (in Australia), messaged me and gave me the contact details of a friend of his in NYC, Annette. Annette wasn't able to help with accommodation, but she asked me to get in touch when I was there so we could meet up for a coffee (or was it a cocktail) .... more likely.
So I eventually secured a room in a very tall building, on about the 17th floor on East 38th, and when I rang Annette, she asked me where I was staying. I told her the address and she remarked "are you serious"? I'm right across the street on the 21st floor" I said "get out of here! I'm going to put a yellow post-it note on my window and if you can see it, wave". I put the note on my window, a woman came outside onto her balcony high up in the building across the street and began waving her arms madly! We've been really great friends ever since.
On that same visit (I think it was 2010/11), I got invited to a party at the apartment of a couple of guys who played the piano and sang. They were so passionate about their music career and were obviously on there way to becoming very successful. It wasn't only the songs and their voices that made me feel this way, but there was an energy about them that was palpable. Their names were Ian and Chad. Well they were definitely on their way, because last year I kept hearing a new song on the radio, on the TV, in shopping centres etc. It was so beautiful and powerful that I was compelled to go looking to see who this band was. Blow me down if it wasn't my new friends Ian and Chad. The song was 'Say Something' and their new band name was A Great Big World. What can I say! It just feels like anything can happen in New York City.
In conclusion, as I think about the Big Apple and what it means to me, I think that no matter how vibrant and exciting a place can be, it's ultimately the people you meet that make it an even greater experience for you or not even an experience you'd care to revisit. I know plenty of people who've visited NYC and though they appreciate it's finer qualities, their experiences were not the same as mine or anyone else's for that matter, and they feel satisfied with the one visit. Isn't that the fascinating thing about life! Our experiences are so uniquely our own.
Thank you for reading my story today and before you leave, I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you'd like to be notified in the future of new postings and happenings, please put your details in the box to the right-hand side of this page (or scroll down if you're on a mobile device).
Until next week.
My photographer and dear friend Robin Craig. Click on the photo to check out some of our very first moments together around New York City.
About seven years ago I embarked on my solo career. Up until then I'd only ever performed live with a full band and I wasn't comfortable being a pianist actually. I wasn't sure of myself on stage and I didn't think I was technically good enough to make a career out of playing the piano. So I mostly stood up front of the band and sang, or sat behind a Rhodes piano and played and sang while allowing the band to "make me look good"..... I hear you screaming at me but that's where I was at.
Due to a major relationship breakup however, which felt like learning to breath, walk and talk all over again, I decided that if I was going to have a music career at all, I'd better "man up" and learn to play solo.
I took a few piano lessons from a well renowned jazz pianist in Sydney, only to have him confirm to me that I was quite capable of accompanying myself on stage. With that and my newly acquired 'f-you' attitude that only a serious break up can provide, (now I hear you laughing - those who really know me), I boldly took to the stage in Sydney and began my apprenticeship as a solo performer. Very soon I was feeling confident and I headed back to the U.K. where I'd spent a few years previously, to finish recording my Le Cafe Ancien album.
I decided to stop over in New York City as I'd never been before and always wanted to go. I went on-line, booked myself into a hostel for 9 nights on the Upper West of Manhattan. Arriving at JFK airport, I took a shuttle to the hostel, and as I was leaving the shuttle, this very friendly woman, Nikki from Phoenix Arizona, caught my attention, asked me what I was doing and then gave me her number and invited me to lunch with herself and a girlfriend. How exciting, I'd just arrived and I already had a date lol! We all met up, and Nikki's friend's name was Robin Craig. For some mysterious reason, Robin and I felt like old friends and she invited me to look her up again if ever I returned to HER city!
New York City was mind-blowingly crazy fun for me! I had no idea what to expect but the place exceeded anything I could ever have imagined. The buildings, the cafes, restaurants and diners, the hustle the bustle, the majesty of it all. No wonder so many people want to write about it. It swallowed me up in such a great way and I willingly gave all of myself to that city and just soaked in every moment. I loved that I could walk around at night on my own and feel safe, and that I could walk into a bar on my own, sit at the counter and make new friends without feeling conspicuous or vulnerable. I googled open mic venues that had a piano and went out every night and played. I played Caffe Vivaldi, Googies Lounge (above the Livingroom), The Path Cafe, Waltz Astoria, Banjo Jim's (now closed), Cleopatra's Needle, The Rockwood Music Hall, and I stayed out listening to music into the wee hours. I made lots of friends and gained performance experience that I never could have bought, which set me up for the tours that I had no idea were coming.
The following year I returned to NYC (wild horses could not have kept me away) and I did get in touch with Robin. In fact we'd remained friends via the internet so it wasn't hard to find her. I stayed with Robin for four days, and as it turned out, she was a photographic enthusiast. Asked if I'd like to go out in the city and take a few shots, I squealed and said yes!
Actually, I'd already started thinking about a music video for my song 'That Face' ( Le Cafe Ancien), and I suggested she bring her video camera as well and just see if we could make something happen. Well we spent three days running, skipping and giggling our way around the city and I swear, I have never had so much fun. We were just on the same page. We were like teenagers and it was all about the fun factor. Below is the video that came out of those three days (bar the cat-face shots at the beginning which were filmed at a party in Brisbane).
To be continued....... Click HERE for Part 2.
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Ok so I had a torrid affair with a gorgeous rock star who shall remain nameless. One I will never forget and am eternally grateful for, not only for what I learned about myself but for the song that was inspired by the way he made me feel.
As the lyrics suggest, Your Hands On Me is one of my more suggestive tunes and when it came time to decide how exactly to produce it, I actually put my producers cap on instead of leaving it all up to Steve McDonald.
I was like a kid in a lolly shop throughout the entire L.A. recording session for my
Feel So Pretty album, due to the fact that I was getting to work with some of the most amazing musicians, and this particular drummer was no exception. His name is Mike Baird. His credits include Journey, Rick Springfield, Joe Cocker, George Benson do I need to go on! When I heard the name Joe Cocker, I went on the hunt to see if Mike Baird was in fact the very same drummer to have played on one of my favourite songs growing up 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' and bingo! It was HIM! Can you imagine my excitement?
Armed with this information, my little brain started to tick over. Wouldn't it be fun to have a female version (I flatter myself) of You Can Leave Your Hat On and have the SAME DRUMMER PLAY ON IT! Do you see where I'm going with this?
When we all fronted up to the studio to record Your Hands On Me and Mike Baird pops the question, "alright Trysette, what kind of feel are you looking for on this song?" (remember he's never heard it before), I replied, "well you know that song You Can Leave Your Hat On" ......he looked at me......and he gave me his cheeky grin.......and he started to play that groove. Aaaaah. I was in heaven.
It's really something to stand in the same room as a drummer like Mike Baird and experience the intensity and precision that he delivers. I've posted a video of our recording session below and you'll notice how effortless it looks when he's actually drumming, but if you close your eyes and listen, you can get a sense of his power. Turn it up!
This video also features the amazing Jeff Dean on bass (so good, and the perfect guy to rock this song) plus you'll hear guitars by Randy Ray Mitchell and Bob DeMarco, organs by Bob Malone and Percussion by Chris Trujillo.
Enjoy, and please leave me a comment below. I love to hear your thoughts.
Since the release of my new album, Feel So Pretty, in July this year, I've been asked a few times why I chose to record Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.
I love this question because it was actually a big decision for me to make. My producer, Steve McDonald, lovingly insisted that I put a cover song on this album and asked me what I'd like to do. Due to my procrastination, Steve put together a compilation CD of about 30 songs for me to choose from. There was only one song on there that I was mildly interested in recording, so we went ahead and began creating a whole new version of it. Steve was very excited about the song, but as it turns out, I was having so much trouble singing it (it was too high in places for me and if we moved it down a key, it was too low in places as well) and the style also was just not feeling comfortable for me.
I kinda had to gently suggest to Steve that perhaps the whole cover thing wasn't going to work for me. Poor Steve! lol! However, being a very patient soul, he then said to me "there must be SOMETHING, surely just ONE song that you enjoy singing that you could put on your album, SURELY"? I said "well of course there is. There's one song that I sing on my shows that I adore and people tell me that I must record it but I CAN'T POSSIBLY. It's way too big, too current, it's been covered a million times and therefore it feels like too much pressure for me to attempt it". (This was my reasoning).
Steve said "well that's it. You're doing it" and that was that. At least I had him to blame if it all went belly up hehe.
The next step was to decide how to record it. At least I'd already been playing it on my shows for some time so I had my part down. Next we added an acoustic rhythm guitar part by the great Randy Ray Mitchell and then we enlisted the services of Bob Malone to work his magic with a string arrangement. Bob wasn't hard to track down since I was living in his house (Bob and his wife Karen are family to me). My most treasured memory of this process was lying awake in the room next to Bob's studio on the night that he wrote the string parts for Chasing Cars. I couldn't stop smiling. To hear someone creating so passionately and from the goodness of their heart, just because they love you and care about you and care about the music, well, it gave me chills. Not only that, the parts were so beautiful and moving, I didn't sleep all night. They were going around and around in my head and I just couldn't wait to give Bob a huge hug in the morning and tell him how much I appreciated him.
Strings down, piano and vocal down, all we needed now was a harmony vocal. Steve McDonald seems to have a list of incredibly talented musicians to call on in Los Angeles, and if the job of the producer is to make decisions about who to call for what and when, then I think Steve nailed it every time for this album. There's nothing more to say except, please just listen to the amazing vocals of John Pratt. Just. Wow!
I hope you've enjoyed my story today. Please leave a comment below and grab your free download of Chasing Cars before you go.
This is my very first blog post so please go easy on me ;) I've been putting this off because I just didn't know what to write about but here I am. I'm just going to make a start and see what happens.
I guess the first thing that comes to mind is the question I get asked most about in the whole world.... where does my name come from? My mum tells me she made it up by combining Trieste (the name of a town in Italy) with Tristesse (a French word meaning sadness). I know right? Well, it has certainly been a conversation starter throughout my life and I guess that's not such a bad thing. Oh and by the way, it's pronounced Tr-zet or Tr-set but I like Tr-zet best. It's a little less formal.
I'm number four of nine children and I grew up in a gorgeous little town on the Northern Rivers of NSW, Australia called Grafton. Grafton sits beside a majestic river called the Clarence and has a crooked bridge which I think is charming. Grafton also has a LOT of Jacaranda trees and every year in November we'd have a day off school to celebrate the Jacaranda Festival. All the students from the local schools would get together and perform May Pole dances in crepe paper costumes which was great until it rained!
There'd be a Jacaranda Queen competition and a float parade down the main street in the evening. And no, I didn't aspire to being a Jacaranda Queen hehe. I was too much of a tomboy back then. I preferred to hang with the boys and go motorbike riding.
I don't know how they did it, but my parents made it a priority to have each of us kids learn an instrument (mostly classical piano) as well as join the swimming club and tennis club etc etc. Below is a picture of the piano I learned to play on after my parents purchased it in Brisbane. It was a rare London Chappell & Co. Grand, and though we appreciated it was a magnificent instrument, how were we to know that it would end up in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney where it still sits to this day.
I'm so grateful to my parents for forcing (I mean encouraging) me to take classical piano lessons even if I did play mostly ragtime and pop songs when I was supposed to be practicing my scales. It definitely had a huge impact on my life considering the career path I have chosen. My major influences in my teens were Carole King, James Taylor, Lionel Richie, Eagles and Elton John. I was a sucker for a good ballad and still am.
Part of being one of a large number of children meant that you had to be very independent. We rode our bikes about 3 kms to school from day 1, at the age of 5. Rain, hail, shine, swooping magpies or snow. Well, it never snowed in Grafton but you know what I mean. Sometimes we'd have piano lessons or swimming club before school which meant a very early start and more often we had piano lessons and orchestra practice after school as well. It was a very full and energetic childhood and I feel blessed to have had the privileges that I had.
I hope you've enjoyed my little story today and thank you for taking the time to visit my blog page.
Until next time.